Japanese plant knot the only horticultural danger to look out for

29th April 2021

Japanese plant knot the only horticultural danger to look out for

Nyree Applegarth, a partner in the Dispute Resolution and Litigation team, looks at the lesser-known dangers of planting bamboo in gardens.

Japanese knotweed. Two words to strike fear into homeowners and landowners alike. But it is not the only horticultural danger capable of wreaking havoc, with an increasing number of people reporting significant issues with bamboo.

Most people know something of the dangers Japanese knotweed. The herbaceous perennial can be very invasive and encroach not only in garden areas, but also grow up into houses if it is left untreated. 

However, there is now a call for garden centres to place warning signs on other bamboo plants to highlight the risks of planting them in their gardens.

Perhaps a strange consequence of lockdown, but horticulturalists have reported that there has been a surge in enquiries over the past year relating to the removal of bamboo.  This is not Japanese knotweed, it is another form of bamboo plant that is also very quick to spread and sends out long lateral shoots that can spread 30ft underground and therefore emerge in a neighbouring garden or underneath a fence or patio. 

Maybe the fact that people have been spending so much more time in their gardens has meant that they have spotted plants coming from next door and now want to take action to have them removed.

Coniferous hedges are covered by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 which means that the Court can make an Order for their removal or height reduction but there is no similar legislation currently covering bamboo, which can grow rapidly and to a significant height if left unchecked. 

I read last week that a company called Environet which specialises in the removal of bamboo, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants, has called for garden centres and plant nurseries to take some responsibility for the escalating problem being faced by gardeners.  Whilst I am not against health warnings being given on plants, I am not sure how effective this is actually going to be. How many people actually read the plant labels and would take notice of a warning that is given?

Perhaps it would be more effective for the garden centre staff to advise the buyer at the till point that the plant they are buying will grow very quickly and spread and the possible implications that could have?

What is clear, is that until the general public do have a broader understanding of the invasiveness of bamboo plants, then this is likely to be a growth area for property litigators and nuisance claims.

If your property is being affected by someone else’s troublesome plants, contact our experienced team to discuss options.


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